God of War: Chains of Olympus

March 25, 2008

Before Kratos took on the gods, he served them as a pawn hoping to be rid of his nightmares caused from his past deeds. When the god Helios is taken from the sky and the world is plunged in to night, the gods implore Kratos to track down his captor Atlas and free the sun before eternal slumber consumes gods and man alike. Set before the events in the original God of War, Chains of Olympus takes all the successful elements of the series and ports them to the PSP to create an excellent addition to this thrilling trilogy.

Right from the first mission, you see that the developers wasted no resources on ensuring a smooth, playable game that will become an instant classic.
It’s essentially a gloried hack-n-slash, but oh man, what an adventure it is. Kratos is as fluid as ever as he creates spectacular combos that shred opponents and dice up the screen. The fighting is so intuitive and inviting that you will be sucked into this visceral melee right from the first level. You are rewarded for creating combos with more orbs that are used to upgrade weapons and attacks into even more deadly and visually stunning combos.

When you are not slashing your way through waves of enemies, you will be solving puzzles and exploring to further the story. Here the puzzles usually represent object placement/manipulation to trigger the next linear path forward, and while the puzzles do get slightly complicated, they don’t really get beyond the difficult level. Exploration rewards you with hidden chests that contain extra orbs or items to improve health or magic and with new scenery.

The controls are easy to pick up and you will be quickly chaining combinations together, but as the game progresses you gain more and more abilities that strain the limits of the PSP’s controls. Noticeably missing is the right analog stick from the PS2 which was used for dodging attacks. Now this same feat is achieved by holding both shoulder buttons while moving the analog control in the direction you wish to roll. The problem with this is that each shoulder button is already tied with a face button combination to use special attacks, so if I wanted to do a roll (L+R+analog) followed by a magic attack (R+Triangle) followed by a Cyclone of Chaos (L+Square) the finger manipulation in the midst of battle starts to become cumbersome.

The graphics and sound are almost movie quality and push the PSP to the limit. The stellar cut-scenes and fluid non-clipped fighting show the best the PSP is capable of. The voice acting is awesome, parcticularly as Kratos and the narrator return to help solidify this game in the trilogy, and the orchestral scores and sound effects round out this epic endeavor. While the game is on the short side (around 6 hours), there is ample incentive to replay the game on the increased difficulty modes to unlock extra treasures, which includes concept art.

I can’t even use “scaled downA

Score: 5/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.